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  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: East Asia is clearly, if gradually and unevenly, moving toward regional economic integration. Market forces are leading the process, as firms construct production chains across the area that exploit the comparative advantage of its individual countries. Governments are now moving to build on those forces, and consolidate them, through a series of formal agreements to intensify their economic relationships and start creating an East Asian Community.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: William R. Cline, John Williamson, Yung Chul Park, Alan J. Ahearne, Kyung Tae Lee, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: One of the principal dangers currently facing the world economy arises from the large and unsustainable imbalances in current account positions. Some observers argue that these imbalances will unwind gradually and nondisruptively, while others emphasize the risks of a sudden change of sentiment in financial markets that could result in an abrupt and damaging adjustment. No one knows which scenario will materialize, but a priori for policymakers should be to reduce the risks of a crisis, which could produce a world recession and disruptions to the global trading system. For that, the global economy requires official sponsorship of a credible, comprehensive adjustment program. This policy brief outlines such a program.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: I.M. Destler
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As Democrats took over the United States Congress in January 2007, many trade advocates trembled. Over the past decade, votes on trade liberalization had broken increasingly along partisan lines. Trade promotion authority (TPA)—indispensable for negotiating new trade agreements—passed by just one House vote in December 2001, with just 21 out of 210 Democrats in favor. In July 2006 the Central American Free Trade Agreement—Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR) won by just two votes, with a minuscule 15 of 202 Democrats voting “aye.” By one accounting, voters in November 2006 had replaced 16 trade-friendly House Republicans (and five similar Senate Republicans) with tradeskeptical Democrats. No seats in either house moved in the free trade direction (Evenett and Meier 2006).
  • Topic: Development, Government, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Robert F. Noriega
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As Fidel Castro shuffles off the world stage, many non-Cubans are pondering the future of a nation that has spent nearly fifty years trapped under the rubble of the dictator's demented experiment. Too many outsiders, however, are disoriented by the myths that the regime has spun over the past five decades to make the island seem complicated, bedeviled, dangerous, and unapproachable. Castro realized that if the world came to comprehend Cuban reality, then even the intelligentsia might notice something wrong with the way he ran the place.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Cuba, Central America
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: To the dismay and amazement of optimistic market players, not to mention Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, early in March former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan publicly assessed the probability of a recession this year to be one in three. This was a shock to those who had been carefully avoiding use of the “r word” while intensifying problems in the subprime mortgage market heralded the news that the housing correction, which had been declared “over” in January, was instead moving into a second, more intense, and unpleasant phase. Weaker investment (capital spending was actually a drag on fourth quarter growth) and an 8.7 percent drop in January durable goods orders further undercut hope for sustained general growth. The Fed's own economic outlook has looked to firmer capital spending as part of an economic recovery scenario.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Markets
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The slowdown in the housing sector that began early in 2006 subtracted over a percentage point from GDP growth during the second half of last year. Now, in 2007, analysts have declared that the worst of the housing slowdown is over. However, early in February, more serious problems emerged in the subprime mortgage market, the rapid growth of which supported the later stages of the housing boom in 2005 and 2006. Subprime mortgages are risky loans to weak borrowers who usually have to borrow the down payment on a home purchase, leaving them with mortgage obligations equal to 100 percent of the purchase price.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The following article is the second of two installments by Michael Rubin in AEI's On the Issues series. The two articles originally appeared as a review essay in the Spring 2007 edition of Middle Eastern Quarterly.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The following article is the first of two installments by Michael Rubin in AEI's On the Issues series. The two articles originally appeared as a review essay in the Spring 2007 edition of Middle Eastern Quarterly.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Charles Murray
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In January, W. H. Brady Scholar Charles Murray stepped back from current education debates about reauthorization of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act and education funding in the president's budget to ask more fundamental questions about the goals that should shape American education in the future. This On the Issues is adapted from essays published in the Wall Street Journal on January 16, 17, and 18, 2007.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Frederick M. Hess
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Race-based hiring practices are commonplace in today's colleges and universities. Not even our country's highest court has been able to put a stop to them. What is needed to end them are determined efforts by alumni and trustees, strong voices within universities, and an engaged public.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Education
  • Author: Frederick M. Hess
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is due for reauthorization in 2007. In the nick of time, a bipartisan conventional wisdom has emerged that conveniently excuses the shortcomings of this awkwardly assembled law.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education, Politics
  • Author: Samuel Thernstrom, Lee Lane
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush was widely expected to propose ambitious new initiatives to control greenhouse gas emissions in the State of the Union address on January 23. The week before the speech, his top environmental advisor told a Washington Post columnist that a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system would be “the most elegant” solution to climate change, raising expectations that a proposal along those lines might be forthcoming. In the end, however, the president proposed a remarkably modest (and poorly conceived) initiative to cut gasoline consumption by 20 percent in the next ten years. This was an important lost opportunity for leadership at a crucial juncture.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian revolution (1987–91) is a fitting occasion to assess the true scale and the impact of the national spiritual liberation known as glasnost, and to put it into a broader context of the history of ideas and their role in revolutions. Such an examination is doubly useful today, when a steady stream of Kremlin-sponsored propaganda seeks to distort and minimize what glasnost has wrought.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Ken Berry
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The United States and Russia have the biggest responsibility for countering nuclear terrorism because together they account for the overwhelming share of global nuclear materials, expertise and weapons. The two countries also have between them the most substantial capacities in counter-terrorism intelligence and response. There is little to separate the two in their policies against nuclear terrorism. Where there are differences in approach on some aspects of nuclear proliferation, the two countries have accepted an obligation as the pre-eminent nuclear powers to try to narrow their differences. The international community cannot defeat nuclear terrorism or limit it without an active and vigorous alliance between Washington and Moscow.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: In 2005–2006 the EastWest Institute (EWI) and the Association of Municipalities of the Kaliningrad Oblast (AMOKO) realized a joint project, «Reforming Municipal Finance of the Kaliningrad Oblast through Performance Budgeting». Carried out with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the project was a contribution to the Russian national program of modernization of budget management systems at the regional and municipal level in accordance with the best world and European practices.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Sahiba Trivedi
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Ambassador Ortwin Hennig is the Vice President and the Head of Conflict Prevention Program of the East West Institute at Brussels. His previous assignments include the Commissioner for Civilian Crisis Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Post-Conflict Peace Building in the German Government; diplomatic postings in Afghanistan, Russia, German Representation at the European Commission and the OSCE in Vienna. He has also served the Office of the German Federal President as a Foreign Policy Advisor. Ambassador Hennig is an alumnus of the NATO Defense College in Rome having specialized in arms control and security policy matters.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, India, Asia, Germany, Vienna
  • Author: Greg Austin, Danila Bochkarev
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Energy security has re-surfaced as a headline issue in the policy councils of Europe and the Americas in a way not seen since the 1970s. On the one hand, some leaders believe that there is a new energy rivalry with ominous geopolitical overtones, and they look at Russia and China with suspicion in this regard. On the other hand, at a more commercial level, there has been rising uncertainty about oil supply and demand, because of political instability in the Persian Gulf and rampant consumption in the major industrial countries and emerging economies. Price volatility, long a feature of the oil market, reached levels not seen for some years, leading to fresh concerns about 'peak oil'.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Globalization, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, America, Europe
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The March 2007 Ouagadougou Political Accord (OPA), signed by Laurent Gbagbo, president of Côte d'Ivoire, and Guillaume Soro, leader of the Forces Nouvelles (FN) rebel movement, holds great promise for ending the current political stalemate and reuniting the country. The political crisis began in September 2002 with an attack by military officers protesting the government's decision to demobilize them; according to some, it was also, an attempted coup d'état. The uprising generated other rebel groups, which took control over the northern part of the country and ignited a civil war. Even after the brunt of the fighting ceased, the country remained divided, with northern Côte d'Ivoire devoid of public services and the state's administration. The OPA is the sixth peace agreement directed at ending the political crisis; the previous five were never fully implemented due to, among other factors, disagreements about the selection of the mediator, the absence of political will among the signatories, and the tense relationship between the government of Côte d'Ivoire and the United Nations. Blaise Compaoré, president of Burkina Faso, mediated the negotiations leading to the signing of the OPA. Burkina Faso remains the facilitator of the agreement's implementation.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations
  • Author: Beth Ellen Cole
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan has now laid the foundation for a market-based economy. A new economic system, based on the state as a regulator, not a producer, of goods, with a clear separation between the public and private sectors, stands in place of the centralized economy of the past. An independent central bank, a liberalized foreign exchange system, and laws permitting foreigners to wholly own property characterize the new economic landscape. A doubling of the gross national product and per capita income, a 13 percent growth rate in 2007, and modest inflation paint a vibrant picture.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Asia
  • Author: Beth Cole, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: How can the international community increase the likelihood of success in societies emerging from conflict? This question was discussed at a public Institute event, Nation Building in the 21st Century: Prescriptions for Success, on March 9, 2007. The panel of speakers included Representative Sam Farr (D-CA); Ambassador James Dobbins, director of International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND National Security Research Division; Ambassador John Herbst, coordinator for the Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization; and Beth Cole, senior program officer at the Institute. Daniel Serwer, Institute vice president for Post-Conflict Peace and Stability Operations, moderated. The discussion drew on a new RAND book, The Beginner's Guide to Nation Building, whose authors include Dobbins and Cole, a “Framework for Success for Societies Emerging from Conflict” developed by USIP, and new operating models nearing approval by the U.S. government for the deployment of civilians to missions abroad. This USIPeace Briefing highlights the main points made during the discussion and does not represent the views of the Institute, which does not advocate specific policies. Drawing on past experience, the panel emphasized that the success of future nation building missions depends on acquiring support from policymakers in Congress and the Administration, applying lessons learned in the past, using common frameworks and doctrine for the future, and increasing civilian capacity, which is sorely lacking.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Karon Cochran-Budhathoki, Colette Rausch
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In February 2007, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) facilitated a series of dialogues in Kathmandu, Nepal between civil society, the Nepal police, and representatives of political parties. The aim was to identify those areas of mutual concern related to security and the rule of law in Nepal. Civil society representatives from development organizations, media, human rights groups, the legal community, and Dalit and Janajati rights groups participated. The representatives from the Nepal police included deputy inspector generals, senior superintendents, superintendents, and deputy superintendents of police. The dialogue sessions were conducted over the course of four days. On day one, civil society representatives met to discuss the challenges and possible solutions to security and the rule of law. The next day, the police discussed the same issues. On day three, the two groups came together to develop a joint list of high-priority issues. On the final day, the police and civil society representatives presented this joint list to political party representatives.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Nepal
  • Author: Dorina Bekoe, Christina Parajon
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is among the most mineral-rich countries in Africa. During the war, those natural resources fueled the conflict, and provided illegal sources of wealth for some. Now, as the DRC undertakes the rebuilding of its economy, the management of natural resources serves as a key component in its development strategy. Properly and profitably managing natural resources in the DRC is a complex task that must take into account security issues, regulatory reform, the structure and legality of past contracts, and the political environment for change. To address these issues, the U.S. Institute of Peace organized a meeting of the Congo Peacebuilding Forum on May 17, 2007. Panelists included Rico Carisch, of the United Nations Group of Experts for the DRC, and Peter Rosenblum, of Columbia University School of Law. This briefing summarizes the main points discussed by participants at the meeting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Author: Helle Munk Ravnborg, Julio A. Berdegué
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: A renewed focus on agriculture is emerging among donor organizations. In 2005, The World Bank published its report Agricultural Growth for the Poor. An Agenda for Development and Dfid published a policy paper entitled Growth and poverty reduction: the role of agriculture, and soon, the World Development Report 2008 entitled Agriculture for Development will be published. The key concern driving this renewed focus is the wish to increase the contribution of agriculture and agricultural growth to poverty reduction. This DIIS brief provides a short introduction to the main messages of the above documents and proposes five main elements of a strategy for supporting public policy interventions in favour of pro-poor agricultural growth.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Catharina Sørensen, Ian Manners
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The recent and widespread sense of crisis in the European Union (EU), with competing demands for a more social Europe, limiting further enlargement, greater protection of the environment, and less immigration, for example, suggest that new lines of political contestation are challenging conventional ways of thinking about EU politics. The EU Internal Dynamics (EU ID) unit at the Danish Institute for International Studies is launching a project, subject to external research funding, to analyse the extent and ways in which new political issues such as climate change, immigration, security and enlargement, are leading to new lines of political contestation in the EU. The objective is to understand if and why the two conventional lines of contestation over more or less integration and left or right politics in the EU need to accommodate emerging lines of political contestation over a more cosmopolitan versus a more communitarian EU. The project is intended to assess in a systematic manner the relevance of three existing models of the relationship between 'integrationist' (more/less EU), 'horizontal' (left/right politics), and 'new politics' (cosmopolitan/communitarian) in the 21st century European Union.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gry Thomasen
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The biggest surprise in the current Danish debate is that there is still very broad coverage of EU issues involving the media and public conferences, particularly regarding the Constitutional Treaty; energy and the environment; enlargement to South Eastern Europe and beyond; and more recently the difficult relations between Russia and the EU. The public debate over the Constitutional Treaty is active, while the government looks forwards to what the German Presidency, as well as the 'No' countries, put forward as suggestions after the French Presidential elections. Following Denmark's four-point suggestion at Lahti for an EU energy policy, the Danish concerns over renewable supply, increased efficiency, a liberalised market, and more research in order to improve energy security have heightened. After the Commission's report of enlargement and integration capacity, the Danish debate has focused on support for the Croatian bid for EU membership, whilst emphasising the need for considerable reforms in Turkey. Finally, following the rebuke by Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Poland in Lahti on the question of human rights in Russia after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, the failure to overcome the Polish-Russia impasse at the EU-Russia summit is also important in the Danish debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Finn Stepputat
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This brief provides a concise overview of the problems and dilemmas that confront organizations and companies working in fragile states and presents the major guidelines, recommendations and ethical frameworks that have emerged to address these issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Erik Thorbecke, Machiko Nissanke
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: While the economic opportunities offered by globalization can be large, a question is often raised as to whether the actual distribution of gains is fair, in particular, whether the poor benefit less than proportionately from globalization and could under some circumstances be hurt by it. This Policy Brief summarizes and examines the various channels and transmission mechanisms, such as greater openness to trade and foreign investment, economic growth, effects on income distribution, technology transfer and labour migration, through which the process of globalization affects different dimensions of poverty in the developing world.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, David Clark
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief is an outcome of the UNU-WIDER research project 'Social Development Indicators'. The overall aim of the project was to provide insights into how human well-being might be better conceptualized and, in particular, measured, by reviewing various concepts and measures and then offering recommendations for future practice and research. This Policy Brief outlines a contextual background to the project, by introducing some key concepts and measures used in assessing achieved well-being, especially at the national level. Highlighted are some of the best known and most widely used well-being measures. The Policy Brief then provides an overview of the five edited volumes that have emerged from the project, summarizing some of the main conclusions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Demographics, Development, Poverty
  • Author: Ha-Joon Chang
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The volume Institutional Change and Economic Development fills some important gaps in our understanding of the relationship between institutional changes and economic development. It does so by developing new discourses on the 'technology of institution building' and by providing detailed case studies—historical and more recent— of institution building. It is argued that functional multiplicity, the importance of informal institutions, unintended consequences, and intended 'perversion' of institutions all imply that the orthodox recipe of importing 'best practice' formal institutions does not work. While denying the existence of universal formulas, the volume distills some general principles of institutions building from theoretical explorations and case studies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance
  • Author: Carolyn Bull
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: For international actors seeking to consolidate peace and democracy in disrupted states, the importance of establishing the rule of law is well-recognised. Yet this goal has proven frustratingly elusive. In the hostile intervention environment of the post-conflict disrupted state, international actors in the UN system and elsewhere have struggled to build legitimate state structures to redress disputes peacefully. They have found it even more challenging to instil principles of governance that promote accountability to the law, protect against abuse and generate trust in the state. This brief examines the difficulties faced by UN peace operations in attempting to build the rule of law, with reference to UN transitional administrations in Cambodia, Kosovo and East Timor.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Government, International Law, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Kosovo, Cambodia
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi, Wafa' Abdel Rahman, Owen Kirby
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Democratic development in the Palestinian Authority (PA) is at the top of the Bush administration's priorities. While the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections of January 2006 were democratic, democratic elections by themselves do not constitute a democratic system. The current situation in the West Bank and Gaza cannot be called democratic by international norms. Respect for the rule of law and human rights and observation of individual rights and freedoms do not currently prevail in the PA.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Robert Kimmitt
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: What are the relative constraints of a multilateral approach versus a bilateral approach to the use of financial tools against illicit activity? Anytime we see a threat to the country through the financial system, we are going to take action immediately using the domestic authorities we have. We try to be careful, however, to make sure that those are carefully targeted to conduct and are not extra territorial. That provides a good basis for entering into discussion with friends and allies throughout the world, both on a bilateral basis with others and then on a multilateral basis.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Barry Rubin, Theodore Kattouf
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On May 30, 2007, Barry Rubin and Theodore Kattouf addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Professor Rubin, a visiting fellow at the Institute, is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA), and author of the just-released book The Truth about Syria (Palgrave). Mr. Kattouf, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria and the United Arab Emirates, is president and CEO of AMIDEAST, a nonprofit group dedicated to enhancing educational links between the United States and the Middle East. The following is a rapporteur's summary of their remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Syria
  • Author: Meral Varis Kiefer
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On April 30, 2007, the Turkish stock market slumped and the value of the lira dropped following a massive demonstration in Istanbul against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, coupled with a statement by the military voicing support for secularism. Previously, the comparatively healthy Turkish economy had boosted the chances that the AKP, rooted in the country's Islamist movement, would achieve further electoral victories this year. On April 24, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan named Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as his party's candidate for president -- a legislatively elected post. In the April 27 parliamentary session, however, the secular opposition boycotted the vote, and the AKP failed to muster the required two-thirds majority. The Turkish constitutional court subsequently annulled the vote, and the status of the presidential election is now uncertain. In the meantime, the parliament has moved legislative elections up from November to July 22.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: David Jacobson, Matther Levitt
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In March, Brazilian authorities drafted a new antiterrorism law instituting stiff penalties for a variety of violent acts committed by both individuals and organizations. The new legislation, expected to pass Brazil's congress in a modified form, will likely be used to target criminal gangs from Brazil's indigent favela neighborhoods, not Middle Eastern terrorist groups operating in the Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay Tri-Border Area (TBA). Brazil denies that illegal terrorist activities are being conducted in the TBA, and it does not regard groups like Hizballah or Hamas as terrorist organizations. Much of the legal foundation needed to successfully combat international terrorism is already in place in Brazil, but the government has not demonstrated the will to confront the problem.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, South America
  • Author: David Satterfield
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 27, 2007, Ambassador David Satterfield addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum. Ambassador Satterfield's public service career has included tours as ambassador to Lebanon as well as key Middle East affairs positions with both the State Department and the National Security Council. Formerly deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he now coordinates Iraq policy at the State Department, serving as a senior advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad, Lebanon
  • Author: Simon Henderson, David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 28, the Arab League will convene the annual summit of its twenty-two member states in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Despite a record of disunity and inconclusiveness, this annual meeting of Arab leaders remains the subject of intense interest in the region. Rising Sunni-Shiite tensions, talk of a peace opening with Israel, and developments in Iraq, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Lebanon have generated more attention for this year's summit than usual.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Riyadh
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 17, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the formation of a Hamas-Fatah national unity government by an 83–3 margin. This culminated a process that began in early February with the Mecca accord facilitated by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Many governments have withheld comment since that accord. One reason for their relative silence is reluctance to criticize a project associated with King Abdullah, who is emerging as a leading force in the Arab world and a linchpin of U.S. efforts to isolate Iran. Another is bated hope that the new government guidelines will be a marked improvement over those of the current Hamas government. Since Hamas's victory in January 2006 parliamentary elections, the focus has been on three principles proposed by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the UN): (1) recognition of Israel, (2) disavowal of violence, and (3) adherence to past written commitments.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The U.S. government's much-discussed but little-understood effort to combat terrorism financing faces both challenges and opportunities. Terrorist groups continue to evolve, proactively working to evade existing sanctions and minimize the impact of future ones. Meanwhile, interagency efforts are being called upon to meet some of the most pressing national security threats through targeted financial measures.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David Pollock
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Does this week's surprise U.S. declaration of a new international conference on Iraq, scheduled for March 10, represent a major shift in U.S. policy or just a minor shuffle? Why is it happening now? And will it have any more of an impact than other recent international meetings on Iraq?
  • Topic: Development, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The Israeli-Palestinian political landscape has been rather bleak over the last several years. Between 2000-2004, the second intifada brought almost unremitting terror and violence. Despite Israel's pullout from Gaza in the summer of 2005, the parliamentary victory of the rejectionist Hamas party in January 2006 contributed to this downward trend.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Mohammad Yaghi
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: One year after Hamas\'s sweeping electoral victory, Palestinian politics is not only locked in a dysfunctional stalemate, but also marred by increasingly deadly factional violence in Gaza. Since a roadside bomb exploded on January 25—targeting a vehicle carrying members of Hamas\'s Executive Force—more than thirty-two people have been killed, seventy-five injured, and dozens kidnapped in the deadliest wave of fighting between Hamas and Fatah to date. Despite a truce that was supposed to have gone into effect this morning, fighting persists in Gaza.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Development
  • Political Geography: Gaza
  • Author: Andrew Exum
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: For the past five years, U.S. Army and Marine Corps officers have been operating in highly complex combat environments in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Uniformed decisionmakers realized early on that these wars required a wide array of skill sets and areas of expertise beyond those traditionally taught to junior officers. Army chief of staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker has stressed the need for a new kind of Army leader skilled in governance, statesmanship, and diplomacy and able to understand and work within different cultural contexts. The question, then, is to what extent the education given to future ground component officers at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis is working to produce such leaders. Specifically, to what extent are the traditional engineering-based curricula at the nations service academies producing leaders with the requisite language and cultural skills necessary to be effective officers on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan?
  • Topic: Development, Education, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: David Schenker
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On January 25, Lebanon will participate in Paris III, the third international donor conference for Lebanon convened by French president Jacques Chirac since February 2001. The top agenda items are grants and soft loans for Lebanon and the economic reform plan of Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora. For Siniora and his "March 14" ruling coalition, the success of the conference -- i.e., international commitments to provide billions to Lebanon -- is exceedingly important, as the government is coming under increasing pressure from the Hizballah-led opposition. Indeed, this week, the opposition upped the ante in its continuing effort to topple the Siniora government, closing key Lebanese arteries, including the highways into Beirut and the airport road. If Paris III is broadly perceived as "successful," it will strengthen Siniora and demonstrate that the March 14 coalition can govern and advance key Lebanese interests without Hizballah participation in government. Should international donors not prove particularly generous, the momentum will shift toward the opposition.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East, France
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: As international pressure on the Iranian government toughens, the Iranian regime is facing more fragmentation at home. In an unprecedented action against a sitting president, 150 of the 290 members of the Iranian Majlis (parliament) signed a letter blaming President Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad for raging inflation and high unemployment, and criticizing his travel to Latin America at a time when he has not sent the Majlis a draft budget for the fiscal year that starts March 21. Under Iranian law, this letter constitutes the first step required if the Majlis wants to remove the president from office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Latin America
  • Author: Jason Yossef Ben-Meir
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: The new strategy of the United States in Iraq does not include an extensive overhaul of reconstruction efforts at this critical time. Very little money is now being appropriated for reconstruction. As the Iraq Study Group Report explains, of the $21 billion to date that has been appropriated for the “Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund” (IRRF), $16 billion has been spent and the remaining funds have been committed. The administration requested $750 million for 2007, and President Bush's new proposal is to add $1.2 billion to that.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Budget consolidation is dominating the political agenda. The Hungarian government has embarked on an ambitious four-year consolidation programme following another election-year peak in the deficit in 2006 at 9.2% of GDP. The immediate revenue increases and spending cuts are temporarily damping growth. However, if all goes according to plan, the programme will bring dividends to the economy in the longer term. This payoff is crucially dependent on: Discipline in budgetary processes. Work needs to continue on strengthening budgetary mechanisms. A system of binding medium-term spending limits should be considered. Budgetary reform also needs to extend to the sub-national governments. Success in maintaining spending freezes. The re-scheduling that brought forward part of the 13th month payment to public-sector workers this year does not affect achievement of the 2007 fiscal target in accrual terms. Nevertheless, looking forward, strong resistance to spending pressures arising from revenue windfalls is of key importance. Implementation of the structural reform programme. The healthcare reforms that are expected to deliver a large share of fiscal savings are reasonably well advanced and a welcome cut in gas-price subsidies is already reducing government spending. The reforms in education are positive but the changes to the tuition–fee system in particular should go further. It is more uncertain, however, whether all the planned cuts in government administration will be realised. Successful reform of public spending requires the participation of the counties and municipal governments. There are potential savings in administrative overheads here too and sub-national governments are responsible for providing many government services. In-depth review of these issues in this Survey reveals a need to: Capture economies of scale. Political constraints preclude widespread mergers among the large number of small municipalities. However, the joint provision of services is widespread and should be encouraged further. Efforts to rationalise through replacement of county-level governments with regional assemblies should continue. Reform financing systems. The financing of sub-national government needs simplification and greater transparency and oversight in accounts. Also, the benchmarking of services via output and performance indicators needs to become more widespread. Reform of local taxation should include widening of property tax and removal of the local business tax. Hungary's low employment rate remains a key structural handicap to economic performance. There has been welcome reform of unemployment benefits and early-retirement pensions. Planned reforms to disability pensions look promising and a concrete proposal for old-age pension reform is in the pipeline. This Survey looks in depth at the issue of prolonged parental leave and other aspects of family policy: Current efforts to boost childcare services are welcome. Future reform needs to consider further strengthening of central-government provision requirements on municipalities regarding these services, matched by appropriate funding. A system of childcare vouchers for parents would be one way of increasing efficiency in the provision of services. Reform to the very long parental leaves should be considered, along with changes to the attendant system of additional cash benefits. Savings could be used to help fund increased childcare services.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Nations and regions are struggling to remain competitive and adapt in the context of globalisation. The regional specialisations built up over decades are transforming rapidly. Many regions that were historically production centres are losing out to lower-cost locations and are reorienting their activities to higher value-added non-manufacturing industries or R manufacturing niches. Yet, given that even some of these upstream activities have begun to be off-shored to lower-cost OECD and non-OECD countries, the question for policy is how durable are the competitive strengths on which regional economies are based.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Nationalism
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Despite a sharp housing market correction, overall growth has been holding up fairly well. Strong foreign demand and a decline in import growth have slowed the rise in the external deficit. With activity near capacity limits, some inflationary pressures have emerged. Reining them in without stifling growth is the main challenge for monetary policy. Looking further ahead, the key challenges are to sustain healthy growth and ensure fiscal sustainability in the face of population ageing. Against this backdrop, the Survey focuses on the following issues: Enhancing the economy's growth potential. Trend growth is slowing because labour productivity gains, though remaining high, no longer suffice to compensate for the deceleration in potential employment due mainly to demographic factors. Prospects for productivity growth appear favourable, but further efficiency gains could be achieved by tackling unfinished business in the area of structural reform. Labour supply could be boosted by increasing work incentives for the disabled, raising the earned income tax credit and delaying retirement eligibility.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Growth performance over the last decade has been among the best in the OECD, though a precise calibration is not yet possible following the recent revisions to GDP data. High growth has been driven by a range of factors, some of which are transitory. It is particularly encouraging that growth has been sustained over the last two years, despite substantial fiscal consolidation, mainly being driven by investment and exports. However, significant further reforms are needed to ensure that good performance is sustained in the years to come. It is imperative to use this period of strong performance to tackle remaining weaknesses in product and labour markets and move fiscal policy further towards a sustainable position by vigorous continued consolidation and pension reform. The key challenge, in terms of political economy, is to manage the required reforms in a context where society may be unduly complacent because the “good times” appear to be continuing.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: A welcome economic recovery is under way in Italy. In part, this reflects the cyclical upswing in the rest of Europe, but there are also early signs of a more fundamental improvement, notably in terms of export and labour market performance. Even so, medium-term prospects remain challenging: Total factor productivity shows little signs of resurgence, high public indebtedness threatens fiscal sustainability and population ageing looms large. Without further reforms to restore economic dynamism, living standards will be dragged down relative to other countries. This Survey discusses policies undertaken by the government to address these challenges, notably to boost competition on product markets, achieve fiscal sustainability and make fiscal federalism work – all in support of growth and adjustment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Governments have long been engaged in providing goods or services to their citizens that could, in some form, be provided by the private sector. The trend over the past few decades, however, has been to transfer these functions, and the state-owned assets used to provide them, to private hands. The most common method, and the one usually preferred, is privatisation, or outright sale or transfer of ownership of the relevant assets to one or more private parties. A second, however, is concessions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government, Markets
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Sweden's 1993 Competition Act (CA) remains the foundation of a broad policy approach that includes prohibitions against restrictive agreements and abuse of dominance, control of concentrations, advocacy and support for academic research. Enforcement of this legislation by the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) marked a shift towards a judicial, rules-based approach.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Following major economic reforms, the Slovak economy has grown strongly in recent years, driven by rapid productivity growth, but still has far to go to catch up to the per capita income levels in the advanced European countries. The incoming government has made achieving a more equal distribution of income a priority insofar as this can be done without damaging long-term growth prospects. There is considerable scope both to strengthen growth prospects and to reduce income inequality by raising employment rates, improving education outcomes (including by reducing the impact of socio-economic background), and by removing barriers to product-market competition. The new government has also reiterated its commitment to Slovakia's entry into the euro area in January 2009 and has taken steps to make it probable that Slovakia will satisfy the Maastricht criteria for entry on a sustainable basis. Policies may need to be adapted to support macroeconomic stability in the currency union.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Slovakia
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: New Zealand has undertaken wide-ranging reforms over the past 20 years and now has one of the most flexible and resilient economies in the OECD. However, a large external deficit, very low household saving and still-strong inflation pressures indicate an unbalanced growth pattern. There are some signs that these imbalances are starting to unwind, but the short-term outlook remains uncertain. On current settings, it will take time for inflation pressures to dissipate and, notwithstanding a large fiscal surplus, strong growth in government spending is complicating the stabilisation task of the Reserve Bank. Moreover, additional fiscal stimulus beyond present plans – whether from spending increases or tax reductions – would delay internal and external rebalancing and exacerbate the adjustment required to ensure fiscal sustainability in the longer term.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific, New Zealand
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Southeast Asian region has shown remarkable economic dynamism. Economic growth has been robust, and trade and investment flows have been soaring as a result of increasing international division of labour.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Southeast Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Regulatory reform contributes to promoting sustained economic growth, complementing sound macro-economic policies. While Sweden has made significant progress on regulatory reform since the early 1990s and enjoyed major productivity gains as a result, it should instil more competition in the public sector, cut red tape and liberalise labour markets if it is to meet the challenge of an ageing population and maintain its high standards of social welfare.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Regulatory reform is a priority in the effort to promote sustainable economic growth, complementing sound macroeconomic policies. It can help shift economic activity to higher value-added production and services, encourage the use of appropriate and new technology and make national economies more resilient to economic shocks. Regulatory reform is a very important asset as countries move forward in the process of globalisation.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Belgian economy is in a strong recovery phase. The balancing of the budget since the start of the decade has allowed public debt to fall fast relative to GDP, providing a favourable macroeconomic background for the recovery. Moreover, structural reforms, particularly in the labour market, are showing signs of success. Output has accelerated and was by mid-2006 growing at 3% – the fastest pace since 2000. With growth well above potential, some production factors are already under strain. The challenge will be to persist with stability and reform-oriented policies to bolster the economy's trend growth, a challenge made more acute by the impending ageing of the population.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Randstad is the poly-centric urban area in western Netherlands, comprising Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and several smaller cities. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the OECD, which has developed into an advanced urban economy with many leading sectors, such as logistics, horticulture and financial services. The Randstad has one of the lowest unemployment rates in all OECD countries and is one of the most attractive metropolitan areas for foreign direct investment.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands, Rotterdam, Amsterdam
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Intellectual assets have become strategic factors for value creation by firms. The expansion of the services sector, globalisation, deregulation, and the emergence of new information technologies have brought to the fore the issue of how knowledge is created, disseminated, retained and used to obtain economic returns. This has led to a structural change, from traditional scale-based manufacturing, which mainly relies on tangible assets, to new innovation-oriented activities which rely largely on research and development, patents, software, human resources and new organisational structures – collectively referred to as intellectual assets.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Globalization
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Parliamentarians are at the heart of democratic systems. They pass laws and hold government purse strings. Because of their important role in national policy-making, it is only natural that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) co-operate with parliamentarians when formulating its policy advice. So keeping parliamentarians informed of its activities and getting their feedback is a high priority for the Organisation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics, Government
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Sweden enjoys excellent macroeconomic performance with high rates of growth, low unemployment and stable inflation expectations. Early steps in regulatory reform, taken in the 1990s, are paying off in terms of productivity and GDP growth. However, tensions are visible at the margin. Employment rates have not recovered to traditionally high levels since the crisis of the early 1990s. Joblessness is widespread among immigrants and youngsters, and disability and sickness rates are comparatively high. As well, renewed regulatory reform is needed, inter alia to address the low rate of enterprise formation and enterprise growth that may weaken the economy's ability to venture into new business fields.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Societies produce ever-growing quantities of solid waste, from packaging to abandoned televisions and cars. Disposing of this waste, often by burying it in landfills or burning it, produces significant soil contamination, as well as air and water pollution. It is particularly important to manage hazardous solid waste safely and efficiently.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The economy is experiencing a favourable period of robust growth, low unemployment and moderate underlying inflation. This largely reflects the effects of globalisation, of which Norway has been a prime beneficiary, supplying energy and other commodities at high prices and increasingly importing products from low-cost countries. Sizeable labour migration inflows, together with sustained productivity growth, have kept cost inflation at a moderate pace. A tradition of foreign trade openness, domestic competition, a good policy framework and sound macroeconomic management have meant that Norway was well prepared to take advantage of these international trends.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Spain's economy has managed a remarkable performance in terms of growth, employment and public finances over more than a decade. A combination of expansionary monetary conditions, fiscal prudence, beneficial structural reforms and the positive supply-side effects of the strong rise in immigration has contributed to these outcomes. But these favourable developments are tempered by deterioration in several areas: the still high inflation differential has harmed competitiveness, and the resulting low real interest rates entail excessive domestic demand, which has been supported, jointly with employment growth and immigration, by ongoing rapid increases in household indebtedness and house prices. Despite some improvement, growth has therefore remained unbalanced as manifest in the large external deficit. Looking ahead, productivity gains are still modest, risking a substantial weakening in output and per capita income growth in the coming years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Before a firm can compete in a market, it has to be able to enter it. Many markets have at least some impediments that make it more difficult for a firm to enter a market. A debate over how to define the term “barriers to entry” began decades ago, however, and it has yet to be won. Some scholars have argued, for example, that an obstacle is not an entry barrier if incumbent firms faced it when they entered the market. Others contend that an entry barrier is anything that hinders entry and has the effect of reducing or limiting competition. A number of other definitions have been proposed, but none of them has emerged as a clear favourite. Because the debate remains unsettled but the various definitions continue to be used as analytical tools, the possibility of confusion – and therefore of flawed competition policy – has lingered for many years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: After several false starts, the economic recovery has taken hold. Activity was strong in 2006, firms and households are more confident about the future, business investment has picked up and unemployment has fallen below 8% for the first time since 2001. There are encouraging signs that the recovery is broadening to embrace household consumption as well. If in addition structural reforms continue, the expansion will become durable and self-sustaining, a prospect also supported by sound corporate and household balance sheets and favourable financing conditions. All this is good news, though it should be kept in perspective. Growth of around 2¼ per cent per annum projected for 2007 and 2008 is still modest by OECD standards, although the growth gap is smaller when measured on a per capita basis. Still, it could take until 2008 for cyclical slack to be fully absorbed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Patricia Kameri-Mbote
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: In 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat said: “The only matter that could take Egypt to war again is water.” In 1988 then-Egyptian Foreign Minister Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who later became the United Nations' Secretary-General, predicted that the next war in the Middle East would be fought over the waters of the Nile, not politics. Rather than accept these frightening predictions, we must examine them within the context of the Nile River basin and the relationships forged among the states that share its waters.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Environment
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Egypt
  • Author: Anthony Turton
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Abstract: It is impossible to understand the developmental constraints of Africa without grasping the significance of water resources, particularly groundwater. Southern Africa faces potentially severe groundwater shortages, which not only imperil the lives of those directly dependent on it, but also the continued development of the economic engines of the region—South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe—all of which face significant constraints on their future economic growth due to the insecurity of water supply. In addition, groundwater resources are the foundation of rural water supplies, which sustain livelihoods for the poorest of the poor communities.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development, Environment
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana
  • Author: Richard L. Lawson, John R. Lyman
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Today, hunger, poverty, and desperation remain prevalent throughout much of the developing world. If we are to live in a 21st century more prone to peace than violence, the developed countries must move expeditiously to address the developing countries' requirements for energy, water, and agricultural production. The availability, accessibility and affordability of energy, water and food supplies are vital to the economic development that is required to alleviate global poverty, to reduce global tensions, and to address global environmental degradation.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: Linda Jakobson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China has in a very short time span embraced multilateral mechanisms to address a broad range of issues and avoided confrontation with the United States. Both stances have shaped Asian and European views of a rising China. At present, Asian and European leaders take China's word regarding its peaceful intentions as a rising power. However, Asian and European policy-makers tend to refrain from confronting China too strongly on issues sensitive to Beijing (poor implementation of intellectual property rights, disregard for human rights, etc). The more prosperous China grows, the less influence any other country will have over Beijing's policies. A rising China is a challenge to others because of its sheer size, its great need for imported energy, and the environmental degradation it causes due to its ongoing industrialization. The troubled relationship between China and Japan is one of increasing concern and could lead to aggravated tensions in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Following a long period of stagnation, Japan is growing again. The key to this success story is Koizumi's relentless focus on structural reform, with two objectives: breaking the structural trap of political constituencies defending old and unproductive economic sectors; and adopting a two-pronged macromicro approach to make reform unavoidable. This paper argues that Europe should follow a similar strategy whereby financial market integration, and not the EU bureaucracy and grandiose political declarations, should become the main driving force of national economic reforms, pressuring liberalisation in goods and services markets and making labour market reforms unavoidable.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe
  • Author: Eneko Landaburu
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The answer to the question posed in the subtitle is yes, indeed, there are concrete alternatives to enlargement. As there must be. Enlargement has been a key tool in projecting stability across our continent. But it is a reality that the EU cannot expand ad infinitum – everything has its limits. We must honour our present basic commitments, while strictly insisting on the criteria. One of these criteria is our own absorption capacity – it is clear that in some member states the pace and scale of enlargement is approaching the limits of what public opinion will accept. To overstretch, rather than consolidate, the Union would be detrimental not only for us but also our partners. These are all issues with which our leaders will struggle in Vienna in a few months time.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Vienna
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: More than half way into the decade, it is clear that the ambitious goal to make the EU the 'most competitive economy' by 2010 will be missed. This contribution shows that investing more in education would be the key in terms of employment, a central element in the Lisbon goal. Improving the skills of the EU's population would have, inter alia, a direct impact on the employment rate. Reaching the Lisbon goal of an employment rate of 70% would be possible even without labour market reforms if the average level of qualification of the EU were to reach the benchmarks in this area (which in turn are very close to the values reached by the best performing member states).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The central recommendation of the Amato report of April 20051 set the year 2014 as the target accession date for the whole of the Western Balkans, which would take the EU from the 27 (in 2007 or 2008) to 32 member states minimally, 33 with Turkey, and 35 in the event of independence for Montenegro and Kosovo. This scenario is in contradiction with the present mood of the EU following the French and the Dutch referenda, which rejected the Constitution that was itself designed to pave the way institutionally for further enlargement. The EU has now officially entered a period of profound reflection on its future, a process which cannot be hurried.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Montenegro
  • Author: Nicola Swainson
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Because of deep-rooted gender inequalities, and because of the large population of South Asia, the region has the highest number of out-of-school girls in the world. This paper outlines some of the issues confronting practitioners, policy makers, and researchers in girls' education in South Asia, and explores what they can do to move towards high-quality and gender-equitable education for all.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: South Asia
  • Author: Fiona Hill, Clifford G. Gaddy, Dmitry Ivanov, Igor Danchenko
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Energy is at the heart of Russia's remarkable change of fortune over the past seven years. Emerging from a state of virtual bankruptcy in August 1998, the country now enjoys large surpluses, has inverted its debt burden with the outside world, and has racked up successive years of economic growth and low inflation. This dramatic turnaround is directly related to Russia's status as the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas—the country has benefited tremendously from soaring prices on the world market.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Britany Affolter-Caine, Justin Austin
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The Great Lakes region of the United States is a unique economic, social, and cultural area made up of all or part of 12 states, including the western portions of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; northern Kentucky; all of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin; and eastern Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Home to 97 million people, this region is defined by a shared geography and natural resources, a dynamic political and economic history, and strong principles of social organization that together have shaped its growth and development. One of the largest industrial production centers and consumer marketplaces in the world, this highly urbanized “mega-region” is a vital global hub of economic activity and growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, North America, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, North Kentucky, East Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri
  • Author: William H. Frey, Alan Berube, Audrey Singer, Jill H. Wilson
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Beyond the suburbs, at the far edges of metropolitan areas, communities both new and old are developing the capacity to house large flows of incoming residents.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Amy Liu, Matt Fellowes, Mia Mabanta
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In the last month, Louisiana's voters participated in a dramatic election, which resulted in the retention of many incumbent members of Congress from southern Louisiana and the transfer of power to Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate. The buzz now is whether a Democratically-controlled Congress will serve as a better ally to the people of New Orleans and southern Louisiana in addressing the continued short- and long-term recovery needs of the region.
  • Topic: Development, Disaster Relief, Environment, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States, Louisiana
  • Author: Bruce Katz
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The relationship between the federal government and American cities is intricate and complex. Majoy federal policies on tax, trade, transportation, and immigration have a substantial influence on the health and vitality of city economies and the shape of metropolitan growth and development. Other federal policies on education, job training, wages, financial services, health care, and housing help shape the life opportunities of urban residents, particularly those who earn low or moderate incomes. Each of these policies influences and is influenced by the nation's changing demographic and economic reality, which in turn has significant implications for cities.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: David de Ferranti, Anthony J. Ody, Nick Warren, Justin Jacinto, Charles Griffin
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The struggle against global poverty may be about to get an important boost from an unexpected quarter. All too often, wellintentioned development programs have been undermined in the past by inefficiency, wrongheaded priorities, and outright graft. It is crucial to enhance the effectiveness of developing countries' public spending on social goals. The public sector, however, cannot, in general, be relied upon to reform itself in isolation. The pressure of informed domestic public opinion is a crucial stimulus.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Globalization, Poverty
  • Author: Lily L. Batchelder, Jr. Fred T. Goldberg, Peter R. Orszag
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The federal tax code provides about $500 billion each year in incentives intended to encourage socially-valued activities, including homeownership, charitable contributions, health insurance, and education. The vast majority of these incentives operate through deductions or other approaches that link the size of the tax break to a household's marginal tax bracket, which means that higher-income taxpayers receive larger incentives than lower-income taxpayers. Such an approach is often appropriate for provisions, such as deductions for business expenses, designed to measure income or ability to pay. But such an approach for incentives intended to promote socially-valued activities excludes more than a third of America, and misses an important opportunity to increase efficiency and economic growth.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jeffrey Tebbs, Isabel V. Sawhill, William T. Dickens
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Many in Congress and the administration have called for new investments in education in order to make the United States more competitive, with President Bush stressing the importance of education in preparing young Americans to “fill the jobs of the 21st century.” Yet advocates of early childhood education have only recently stressed the economic benefits of preschool programs, and it has been difficult to win support for these short-term investments given the long-term nature of the benefits to the economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Johannes F. Linn, Colin I. Bradford Jr.
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: The global challenges confronting political leaders today—whether the stalemate of global trade negotiations, the threat of Avian flu, the struggle over Iran going nuclear, or the fight against global poverty—cannot be solved by yesterday's institutions. They demand new approaches to global governance that are more inclusive, more representative, and thus more effective. The G8 summit, in particular, is a forum of the eight industrialized countries that were the dominant powers of the mid-twentieth century. By excluding the emerging powers of the twenty-first century, it has become increasingly ineffective, unrepresentative and illegitimate. U.S. global interests are best served by increasing the inclusiveness and effectiveness of the global steering process rather than sticking with the obsolete, overly formalized and unrepresentative G8.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Robert E. Litan
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: While policymakers and leaders continue to debate the rebuilding of Gulf areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, a much greater loss looms on the horizon. Katrina exposed more than problems with poverty, emergency management, and infrastructure. The storm also illustrated the inability of private insurance markets to handle large-scale losses. “Mega-catastrophes” are catastrophic events, like Katrina, whose costs are so large and unpredictable that private insurers either are unwilling to insure against them, or charge premiums so high that significant numbers of customers do not want or cannot afford the insurance.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment, Politics
  • Author: Paul A. Jargowsky, Isabel V. Sawhill
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Hurricane Katrina reminded the nation of the consequences of entrenched poverty, and Congress now faces complicated policy questions set against the backdrop of class and race. As America confronts these issues in cities and states beyond the Gulf Coast, it is important to realize that the number of poor people living in troubled neighborhoods—often described by journalists as the “underclass”—are actually fewer now than in the 1980s. Yet public policies that encourage education, work, and opportunity are urgently needed to keep that positive trend from reversing.
  • Topic: Demographics, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Autism spectrum disorders have become among the most common and severe developmental disabilities facing children—and thus future generations of adults—in the United States today. More than in 200 young children may now be affected by a neurological condition on the spectrum (which includes autism, pervasive development disorder, and Asperger's syndrome or disorder). This fact has become increasingly well reported in recent months.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Health, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Albert Kiedel
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: China is confronting widespread violent and even deadly social unrest, raising Communist Party alarms about national security. Some observers speculate that unrest could undermine China's national leadership, as it did in the Ukraine and the Philippines. Some U.S. policy makers might welcome unrest in China as a path to democracy and “freedom.” But rather than an opportunity to transform China's political order, China's social unrest should be understood as the unavoidable side effects—worsened by local corruption—of successful market reforms and expanded economic and social choice. Managing this unrest humanely requires accelerated reform of legal and social institutions with special attention to corruption. More violence would generate more suffering, potentially destabilizing East Asia and harming U.S. interests. The United States should encourage China to strengthen its social reconciliation capabilities, without making electoral political reform a prerequisite for intensifying engagement across the board.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Ukraine, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The index presented in this report attempts to measure how closely existing school systems resemble free markets and rates education policy proposals on how conducive they are to the rise of competitive marketplaces. We define an education market as a system that provides the freedom for producers and consumers to voluntarily associate with one another, as well as the incentives that encourage families to be diligent consumers and educators to innovate, control costs, and expand their services. It is a system in which schools can offer instruction in any subject, using any method, for which families are willing to pay.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Markets
  • Author: Andrew J. Coulson
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The index presented in this report attempts to measure how closely existing school systems resemble free markets and rates education policy proposals on how conducive they are to the rise of competitive marketplaces. We define an education market as a system that provides the freedom for producers and consumers to voluntarily associate with one another, as well as the incentives that encourage families to be diligent consumers and educators to innovate, control costs, and expand their services. It is a system in which schools can offer instruction in any subject, using any method, for which families are willing to pay.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Education, Markets
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 11 December 2006 local elections will take place in Aceh, the once war-torn region of Indonesia where exguerrillas are now running for office. The logistical challenges have been huge, particularly in registering so many people displaced by the December 2004 tsunami. But the political challenge has been even greater: how to ensure that the elections facilitate the transition of the former insurgency, the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) from an armed struggle to a political movement, thereby reinforcing its 15 August 2005 peace agreement with the Indonesian government. A rift that has emerged within the GAM leadership has complicated that transition.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Premier Vojislav Kostunica won a high stakes gamble with passage of Serbia's draft constitution in the 28-29 October referendum. However, numerous credible reports indicate the process was deeply flawed and the result falsified. The referendum cannot be characterised as either free or fair. The new constitution could prove a step away from European values. It opens the door to increased centralisation of the state, curtailment of human and minority rights, destruction of judicial independence and potentially even a parliamentary dictatorship. The process used to pass the constitution illustrates how Kostunica continues to transform Serbia into something closer to illiberal authoritarianism than liberal democracy; yet, the referendum was welcomed by the Council of Europe, the European Union and the United States.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Serbia
  • Author: Mark P Thirlwell, Dr. Malcolm Cook
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Globalisation implies a big increase in the payoffs from successful cross-border economic cooperation. Yet the main international institutional mechanisms designed to facilitate such cooperation, the G7 and the IMF, are not up to it. Both the G7’s membership and the IMF’s governance structure significantly under-represent several key players in the modern global economy, a potentially fatal handicap when it comes to tackling some of the most pressing challenges now facing policymakers. Moreover, neither gives Australia a permanent seat at the top table.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Dr. Michael Fullilove
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: This Issues Brief assesses the relationship between the United Nations and Asia – both the UN's activities in Asia and the behaviour of Asian states at the UN. Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director for Global Issues, reviews the current stances of the three major regional powers — China, India, and Japan — towards the UN, previews the September World Summit on UN reform, and examines the prospects for an Asian Secretary-General, which has the potential to thicken Asia's interactions with the UN.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Asia
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In December 2004 China's top political leadership agreed to fundamentally alter the country's growth strategy. In place of investment and export-led development, they endorsed transitioning to a growth path that relied more on expanding domestic consumption. Since 2004, China's top leadership, most notably Premier Wen Jiaobao in his speech to the National People's Congress in the spring of 2006, has reiterated the goal of strengthening domestic consumption as a major source of economic growth. This policy brief examines the reasons underlying the leadership decision, the implications of this transition for the United States and the global economy, and the steps that have been taken to embark on the new growth path.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Jeffrey J. Schott
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Trade ministers from member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) convened in Hong Kong in December 2005 to jump-start the flagging Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations. The Hong Kong ministerial was not a complete bust. But ministers accomplished only the minimum necessary to keep the Doha Round moving forward—toward an undetermined and probably distant conclusion.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Robert F. Noreiga
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: While the world's attention is focused on a struggling Iraq and a rising China, a battle for the heart and soul of the Americas is being waged closer to home. A simplistic account might describe this confrontation as a tug of war between U.S. president George W. Bush's vision and that of his self-appointed nemesis, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Equally misleading are characterizations that describe the showdown as one between left and right, rich and poor, north and south. But this is not a battle between two powerful leaders or between ideologies of the left and right. The contest being waged in the Western Hemisphere is about democracy itself: can it deliver the goods for impatient publics? On one side are leaders from the left and right who see democratic institutions and the rule of law as indispensable to prosperity and liberty. On the other are those who treat democracy as an inconvenience and see free markets as a threat.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The U.S. economy has slowed to a level below its trend growth rate during the second half of 2006. Trend growth, the rate that can be sustained over time without rising inflation, is probably about 3 percent, having been reduced by a quarter of a percentage point by weaker productivity data. As has often been the case over the past five years, the slowdown itself has set into motion market adjustments that may mitigate or even reverse it. Since August, interest rates on benchmark tenyear treasuries have dropped by about 60 basis points. That reduction, coupled with a stock market that is rising in part because of lower interest rates, has caused an easing of financial conditions equal to nearly 100 basis points since late June on the Goldman Sachs Financial Conditions Index. Meanwhile, since August, the price of oil has dropped by about $18 per barrel—which, if sustained, would be enough to add about 0.7 percentage points to U.S. growth over the next year.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United States, America